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What changes have Pozzo and Lucky undergone during the course of Waiting for Godot?

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nanlaw | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:46 PM via web

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What changes have Pozzo and Lucky undergone during the course of Waiting for Godot?

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mstokes | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:12 PM (Answer #1)

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In Act I of Waiting for Godot,  Pozzo is travelling to the market to sell Lucky, his slave. Pozzo is healthy, possessed of a good appetite and cruel and there seems to be nothing physically wrong with him. He treats Lucky in a despicable way. Lucky, he claims, used to be such a pleasant slave to have around, but he has become quite annoying, and so he is going to get rid of him. This is their position the first time they meet Vladimir and Estragon.

On their second appearance the following day everything has changed. Pozzo is blind, and Lucky is mute. Pozzo has no recollection of the previous meeting, and even claims that Lucky has always been unable to speak, oblivious, it would seem to the fact that just  the day before he gave a long philosophical discourse when bidden to "think." Asked by Vladimir when he became blind, Pozzo responds "I woke up one fine day as blind as Fortune” Didi, finding this incomprehensible continues asking him for details. Pozzo responds to this in a peremptory manner "Don't question me! The blind have no notion of time.” His situation represents the effects of time on people. The meaninglessness and absurdity of a world based on chance means human life is at the mercy of Fortune. Beckett uses this change in the situation of Pozzo and Lucky to show that human life is meaningless because time is meaningless. Remember, if like many, you find this view nihilistic and difficult that this play falls into the genre of the “absurd”

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted May 26, 2010 at 5:30 PM (Answer #2)

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The Lucky-Pozzo relation in Beckett's Waiting for Godot is a treatment of the master-slave relationship, which has always intrigued the Western philosophers from Hegel to Lacan.

Pozzo is in full control over the slave and has a stable ego-position in the first act. Lucky is silent and burdened in both literal and metaphorical ways. Pozzo is going to a fair where he wants to sell off his slave because lately he has started to deviate from his usual obedient self. Lucky's think-speech is a disconcerting articulation of truth for the master as Pozzo's barred status as a subject not in control over truth is revealed. Pozzo is made to realize what Lacan marked as the truth that can only come out of the mouth of the slave.

In the first act itself, Pozzo does show signs of shudder when he remarks that he has been unduly exploited by Lucky off late but this strand becomes dominant in the second act where he is blind and dependent on the dumb Lucky to find his way in his favourite on-ward movement. His eloquence has been ripped apart and he has grown into a very anxious character as his reaction to Didi and Gogo's question about the exact time when he went blind and Lucky dumb, suggests.

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